tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 14, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT
anti-intellectualism we continually see from that side. come on. is this really presidential? >> not by your measure, and i don't necessarily disagree with you. it was a wonderful rant. have a wonderful weekend. and check out toure's book, "post blackness," which continues to do very well in the marketplace, and well it should. i'm dylan ratigan and "hardball's" up next. is cain able? let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, can rocky win? ♪ ♪ herman cain is the rocky in this republican race, the guy who came out of nowhere, who few
respected as a full-fledged candidate, who suddenly has shown he can throw a punch and is a real contender. but can he win the most votes? can herman cain turn his anybody but romney support into real campaign that actually wins caucuses and primaries? plus, here's a provocative headline we saw today, will mitt romney kill the tea party? conservatives winced at the idea of the born-again conservative romney as the nominee and there's some talk of a third-party kanchallenge to him. on the other side of the spectrum, are the occupy wall street protests real? is there real anger here that can spread throughout the country? author michael lewis joins us on to whether they can use that anger to change american hearts and minds. and if you're like me and grew up in a time of racial tensions and riots, it's amazing and gratifying to see a president who has a democratic african-american president and another african-american at the top now of the gop field. how far have we come on this weekend that we do dedicate the martin luther king jr. memorial here in washington.
and let me finish tonight with a call to action to those protesting on wall street. get something done. we start with the rise of herman cain. david corn's an msnbc political analyst and "mother jones" magazine's washington bureau chief, and jonathan martin is senior political reporter for politico. gentleman, i want to know how this ends for this fellow, herman cain, who's come out of nowhere. you're chuckling, but lead me raise a couple of questions here. i'm going to give you a number of questions, the scenario. this guy keeps going up. he's ahead now in south carolina. he's ahead now in florida. he's ahead of the field against a guy who can't do anything but flatline. mitt romney won't get above 23. he stays right there, like a dead guy, politically. whereas cain keeps going up. my question to you, if cain can even hold second place to romney, who gets ahead of him? who beats him? >> it ends up with herman cain on fox news and a lot of book sales. this guy will not be the nominee, chris. maybe rick perry comes back, you
know, it's true that mitt romney's in a weak position, can't get above, but herman cain, once mitt romney, or anybody else, starts spending millions of dollars to tell the american public that his 9-9-9 plan means tax increases for anyone making $50,000 or below, his campaign is going to flameout, if it hasn't already. he is so vulnerable on this and other fronts. he still can't talk about anything else other than 9-9-9. i don't see the republican party that crazy. >> let me go to a couple things. we've all agreed, i think you agree, that someone has to challenge romney from the right. somebody in the end will be in the race with him throughout the spring, challenging him as the alternative to a guy who's not a tea partier. so somebody will be the hero of the tea party. now you've got to argue that somebody has to beat this guy. do you think perry has the iq, politically, to get out there and fight against the guy who has won -- he's done well, let me put it this way, in every debate he's been in, who goes up in the poll every time, who can
talk. something that perry can't do. do you say his ads -- >> if we're agreeing -- >> look at this guy! have you heard anything out of this guy yet, his campaign? >> no, no, no. but if you're agreeing there has to be a stand-in for the anti-romney vote, i think you're right. that may be rick perry, as iq-challenged as he might be -- >> political iq. >> but it's not going to be herman cain. >> you think you know a lot about the republican party, here's haley barbour on herman cain's chance of success. >> i have a theory on this too. >> let's listen to haley barbour. >> if this election where it ought to be, and that's a referendum on how president obama's doing, a republican's going to win. if herman cain is our nominee running against barack obama, i think he'll sweep the south. >> "he'll sweep the south." do you want to counter haley barbour? >> "if he's the nominee." will he win north carolina? virginia? i don't think so. but i don't think he'll be the nominee. we won't have to worry about
haley's prediction. >> my argument is this. mitt romney is more vulnerable than herman cain as a nominee, because he is very vulnerable with 77% of the party who reless lently won't support him, even in polls. he's got a problem. it might be the religion problem, i don't think so opinion i think it's the ideological problem. they don't trust him as a conservative. whereas herman cain, everything he's done has said, i am a conservative. and you think it's going to be going through the weeds of his economic program that's going to kill him. >> i think he can't sustain any scrutiny on his program or anything else, even for republican primary voters. >> let's take a look at him. here is haley barbour and what he had to say on laura ingraham's radio show after herman cain, about herman cain. let's watch. >> he's attracted a very good family, in my family. you know, i think if it were today, my wife would vote for herman cain. one of my sons -- i've got grown children -- from the first day
said, dad, do you know herman cain? i said, sure, i've known him since he was chairman. he said, i like him, i like what he says. and that's one of his great strengths, laura. he is likable. he does not give you the impression that he's full of himself. >> why are so many republicans in poll after poll saying herman cain? >> why so many? we've only had this for a week -- >> nbc's got the best poll in the country and he's number one in it. >> we were going on and on about donald trump last spring, michele bachmann seemed to be the anti-romney candidate. there is a taste, a desire, a craving for someone other than mitt romney. but as anyone has come up, they've fallen very quickly. >> who's going to replace him on that job? that's my point. is he the last guy on the right standing? >> we haven't had a santorum bubble yet. >> i've been logical about this. i've watched what you watch. we've saw trump do his number, watched bachmann do her run, watch perry fizzle.
this guy as seceded all of them. who will secede him, who hasn't already fizzled? answer? >> i would say that the best bet would be a perry comeback, and then say, a newt gingrich rise. >> a perry comeback? >> yes. he has the money, he'll have the consultants, and -- >> did you watch him in the debate? >> oh, i think he's awful. >> "the washington post" debate, he was a groundhog. >> he can't stay awake. this man cannot stay awake past 8:00 in the evening. >> let's put perry on tv right now with herman cain. who wins the the debate? one on one? >> well, that's a really good question, because neither one of them have any policies to talk about. i mean, cain is certainly more personable and he's been a better debater, but do you think -- i'll ask you this. can he say 9-9-9 from here until election day and nothing else? >> we'll go in now, we'll go into the weeds with you, where you really want to go. timothy egan of "the new york times" describes cain's economic plan like this, "in essence cain
is proposing the largest shift in tax burden from the wealthy to the poor" -- sounds like the republican party to me. he apparently would scrap the two great government programs that keep millions clinging to fragile middle class, social security and medicare, because he wants to eliminate the payroll taxes that now pay for those -- so here you have a guy whose impulse is to shift wealth to wealthy people, basically. whose impulse is to get rid of great society programs. i know i'm being a bit of a cartoon here, but these are the impulses of the party we're talking about. >> and he also wants to tax beer. i mean, the thing is, most republicans don't get out there and say, hey, if you're making more than -- making less than $50,000 a year, we're going to tax you more. they know, they try to cut the edges a different way. but this guy's plan is such a bald effort to redistribute wealth from the top -- from the bottom to the top. >> every time he's been in a debate -- his numbers have gone up. every time somebody's doing what you're doing, for the right, his numbers have gone up.
every time they've quibbled over this guy's economic -- >> it hasn't started -- >> at least he's got one. >> it hasn't started yet. there's been no real attack on cain from anyone in the republican party. >> could there be, in your mind -- >> there will be. >> i want an honest answer. this is sodium pentathol time. could there be that the republican members are voting for him in these polls simply to say, i am not for romney, i'll name this man who is african-american, who is not a man of political background, in a cynical way. i'm just doing it as a placeholder. is that what you're really saying? otherwise, what you're saying make is no sense, because they keep voting for him. >> no, no, no. i think -- i think their love is fleeting. we saw it for trump, we saw it -- >> it's infatuation. >> yeah. the question is, who do you want to have a wild weekend with and who do you want to get hitched to? >> i love the way you do psych babb psychobabble on the right. here's herman cain in explaining
himself. he's doing incredibly well, and if this was a white guy doing this and doing exactly what he was doing, you'd be saying, of course he's the front-runner. >> oh, hey, no, no, no. >> you don't trust that party. i'm not saying you have a racial problem, you think the republicans do. >> no, i don't think they're voting for him because he's black. >> no, you think they won't in the end because he's black. >> though, not in the end because there's not much there. >> i think you deep down believe that there's a race problem in the republican party. >> well, i think they do, but -- >> that's why -- >> no, i think they love black conservatives -- >> we're arguing like children here. we're looking through the window at the republican party. let's listen here. >> six weeks ago, there was some pundits who was siaying that i should just drop out. well, they don't know herman cain. how do i feel? i am feeling great. i'm feeling great not only because of the surge, but i'm feeling great because a lot of people are taking a second look and they're saying, maybe this long shot is not such a long
shot. >> well, there he is. and by the way, how many "rocky" movies did you see? all five? >> i think 10, 11, 12. how many were there? up to the russians? >> anyway, herman cain, we're watching you. the doubters persist. thank you, david corn. >> sure thing, chris. coming up, the occupy wall street protesters are angry, of course, and their movement is growing, of course, but how much sway do they have with voters? will they change policy? will they change american's hearts and minds and get something done about economic inequality in this country? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool if you took the top down on a crossover? if there were buttons for this? wouldn't it be cool if your car could handle the kids... ♪ ...and the nurburgring? or what if you built a car in tennessee that could change the world? yeah, that would be cool.
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25. rick perry's way back at 15. next, a big state, florida. it's cain leading again, another arg poll with 34% for cain. romney's down at 28. gingrich, a distant third. cain in both those races. and finally, a general election matchup in new jersey. a new quinnipiac poll has president obama ahead of mitt romney, 47/41. that's a healthy result for him in a state, of course, he has to win. we'll be right back. sodium pent that'll. [ male announcer ] whether over a cup of maxwell house... or a can of paint... you came together to vote, to share... to volunteer. and now, thanks to you, 10 communities have more to smile about. what's next? tell us on facebook.
welcome back to "hardball." this morning, between 600 and 700 protesters gathered in lower manhattan as part of the occupy wall street movement. a planned cleanup of their protest area, in which protesters would have had to leave the park temporarily raised concern they might be evicted. so the protesters won and the cleanup was postponed. but police later arrested 14 protesters who had marched down to wall street. so will there be any political ramifications from these protests? u.s. congressman charlie rangel
supports the protesters, joining us from capitol hill. mr. rangel, it comes down to, there's a lot of support, maybe overwhelming support, for the feelings of inequality that are being expressed on the streets of new york. my question to you, sir, you've been on ways and means for a long time, is there any way that something good will come out of this? >> of course there is. right now, throughout america, they are merely indicating their frustration. i really hope that as a result of this happening throughout these united states that we find some of our spiritual leaders joining with them and giving them some direction, because in addition to the unemployment, we also have a real attack on the vulnerable, the sick, the aged, and this is happening in the congress. and we haven't heard at all from the ministers. and the only way for them to be active is to get active,
register, vote. do something. right now, that leadership is missing. and i only wish that our community leaders could go down there and see these kids, they're good people, many of them are gone through college, they don't have a job, they know they'll never be able to even aspire to what their parents have done. and it's frustrating as hell to be that helpless and that hopeless. >> let's talk about two areas they seem to be angry about. one is inequality of income. looks to me like members of both party, including yourself, have supported the differential on taxes. that the people who make money off money, off capital gains, pay 15% in taxes, and the people who make money off work, working 40 or 50 hours a week, with sweat equity in their job, they pay up to 35%. is there any way the congress will ever equalize those two rates of taxes? >> i hope so. you know, they talk about the power of money and getting people elected, but it's not
really just the fact that there's a disparity in terms of the tax rate that people pay on capital gains as well as on their income, there are two things too. one of the things is that the disparity exists where just a handful of americans own almost half of the wealth in this country. and the middle class, which is really the heartbeat of our economy, the heartbeat of our country, is shrinking and the poor are just growing larger and larger. and one out of every five kittekids is born into poverty. that is danger enough. the other problem that we have is that it is perceived that when the bankers were in trouble, when the financial institutions were in trouble and bush told us and obama really underlined it, that we had to take taxpayers' money, invest it
into these fiscal institutions or the whole economy would collapse and we would have international repercussions. well, people saw that, they didn't march, they didn't protest, they just saw it. and right after that, the people who pay taxes when they could lose all of their jobs, their hopes, their savings, their homes, and you have the disparity there. so there's enough to be angry about. >> well, i'm hoping you can get something done as a result of all this street action. maybe the street is the new political stage in this country. thank you, u.s. congressman, charlie rangel of new york, in fact, of manhattan. joining me right now is michael lewis who wrote "moneyball," on which the movie was-based, as well as "the blind side." his newest book is called "boomerang." by the way, i loved what aaron sorkin was able to do with your book, i loved "moneyball," by the way. i'm not even sure what it was about.
it was about something bigger than baseball, but we can't talk about it here. it's too deep and cosmic for me. there's something grand about it. but shortly, can you tell me quickly, in a sentence or two, what was "moneyball" about and what was "boomerang" about. >> at its heart, "moneyball" was about the way markets, even the markets for baseball players misvalue people and the way people get misperceived. i mean, it's an astonishing story that baseball players can be systemically undervalued and some team can come along and take advantage of that. and that's, at bottom, what it was about. "boomerang" is really an extension of a book i wrote a year ago, published a year ago, "the big short," about the financial crisis. i mean, i think what you're seeing down on wall street is an expression of the fact that the financial crisis has never really ended. that it got -- that the debts that were -- that the bad investments that were made by banks have been effectively nationalized around the world. and you got now sovereign states
that are not credible, financially. and you see -- >> what are the people -- i'm sorry. what are the people up in those buildings and those well-appointed offices looking down on these people thinking right now? are they a little scared? are they chuckling at it? what do you think their emotional reaction is though this craziness we're looking at? there's people being pushed around by the police, a guy crouching. what are those people thinking up there in the high-rises? >> if i had to guess, i would think they didn't think it concerned them very much yet. put yourself in the position of someone inside a goldman sachs or a morgan stanley. you've had your way with the world, you know? your firm would have been out of business except for taxpayer intervention and support. you got restored to help, and then you proceeded to wreak havoc with any attempts to reform you. what are a few people on the street going to do to you? i think they'd be wrong to think that, but i'm sure they're viewing it with some
indifference. >> let's talk about this election coming up and what this boomerang means here. i keep reading the market every day, and every day i ask somebody from cnbc or somewhere, what the heck's going on, because it seems to me that obama can't move the unemployment rate. it's around 9. he's not going to get anything through congress the next year. it seems what's going to drive the unemployment rate are these international realities with the european mess, greece. what would you worry about in the next year? if you were obama and gene spearling, his economic adviser, what would scare the heck out of you between now and next november? >> you're right, he's not going to get anything through congress, so he'll be dealing with a high unemployment rate no matter what happens. but the thing i would be scared of right now is another banking crisis, and it's triggered by a greece default, or even an italian default. i mean, that the banks own large amounts of sovereign debt, and the minute one of these places goes down, and especially if it goes down messily.
if greece announces tomorrow that, you know, you're going to get 30 cents on the dollar back if, on greek government bonds. french banks, german banks come under attack. and they're interconnected with our banks. so you're back exactly where you were in 2008. where you have to choose between letting the financial go down or coming in askand looking like you're friends with the fat cats on wall street. if i had to guess, that's what they're afraid of. they'll be put in that position again and it will show that these institutions are still too big to fail. they can't let them go down. >> so all the effort to try to bind up and perhaps reform wall street after bush left and obama came in, all that stuff, around the time of t.a.r.p., to try to clean up the system with dodd/frank and everything, really left us at the whim of the big shots? >> we're still vulnerable, yes. it's -- the situation is a little different, but still, basically, if goldman or jpmorgan or someone walks into the treasury tomorrow and says, we're insolvent, we need help,
or we're not going to open the doors tomorrow, i don't think the treasury's going to have any choice but to do what they did all over again. and that would be, i would think, a political problem. >> so even if we had a socialist running the country, i know people call obama, but a real socialist, somebody really on the left, bernie sanders or somebody really proud of their left-wing status. if they were running the country, would they have anymore leverage than that, or do we have to do what the big banks tell us we have to do because of their screwing up? does anybody have any control in politics that isn't already trumped by the power on wall street? >> not right now. but this could change pretty rapidly. if elizabeth warren gets elected to the senate, that's one of the things the protesters could do, they could pick up candidates. if people who actually understand that what needs to happen is that these institutions need to be broken up, we're at their mercy until they are, those people get into power, who knows? the situation could move very quickly. and especially, look, if we get ourselves in situation where
we're bailing them out all over again, i imagine there's going to be enormous political pressure to do just that. >> if we had teddy roosevelt as president right now, a real trust buster, a real progressive reformer who knew how to do it, could he break these giants into smaller pieces so the american people would be a democratic society again, economically speaking? >> sure. absolutely. >> that's good to -- >> i don't see why -- it's only hard because of the influence of money in the political process. because wall street had such sway in the discussion of how to reform them. >> i smell it every day. thank you, michael lewis. thanks. i'm glad to know at least it's possible if we get the right people running the country. up next, herman cain is hoping his candidate sip doesn't melt away lake his choice of ice cream, actually. stick around for the side show. i still think that guy's rocky on the republican side. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first up, when sarah palin first grabbed some attention for calling gop candidate herman cain the flavor of the week, the initial speculation was that the candidate would take offense to the comment. well, since then cain has turned the tables and dubbed himself the black walnut after what he calls his own haagen-dazs flavor of choice. well, if you haven't seen that option in the grocery aisle lately, there's a reason. according to the haagen-dazs customer service line, "we don't sell black walnut. the sales nationally did not meet our expectations, unfortunately. it did not behoove us to continue with the product." well, there's a bad sign. a bad metaphor, if you want. apparently cain was not aware that his flavor of choice turned out not to be everybody else's. let's hear his thoughts on the matter. >> well, i was very disappointed to find out that it's a limited edition and they don't make haagen-dazs the way they used to, so i'm heartbroken over
that. i now have my people calling haagen-dazs and finding out why they don't make haagen-dazs ice cream, when thar going to bring it back, because it's always been my all-time favorite. >> i don't know how a flavor can be your all-time favorite when you can't even buy it. up next, allen west of florida attracted attention back in july for his nasty comments on fellow florida representative debbie wasserman schultz, who he called, quote, the most vial, unprofessional, and despicable member of the u.s. house of representatives. he's on the attack again, this time against president obama. here's part of an e-mail he sent to supporters. "i truly believe president barack obama does not comprehend american exceptionalism. he does not fathom that in america, the station of your birth does not determine the station of your outcome. america is not about class or caste, it is about rewarding individuals for their drive and determination for their hard work and ideas." hmm. well, there's a tough sell he's got on his hands there.
i think president obama himself is the clearest example of west's definition of american exceptionalism, isn't he, when you think about it? look where he is. and now for the big number. it might come as no surprise in this fall's gop debate since rick perry, who was dealt the most verbal punches by the other candidates. that's right, he played the role of piñata more often than all the other candidates combined. but, here's a shocker. who do you think threw the most punches at him? it was jon huntsman, with how many attacks on his opponents? 19. unfortunately for huntsman, the whacks don't seem to have provided much momentum given his blaze in the polls. 19 times at bat for jon huntsman and that's tonight's big number. up next, will mitt romney kill the tea party? if the republicans nominate romney, think about it, there's talk among conservatives of a possible third party challenge from the right. and that's ahead tonight on "hardball." you're watching only on msnbc. but with advair, i'm breathing better
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i'm julia boorstin with your cnbc market wrap. oktoberfest rules on with a solid rally to cap off a big week. the dow jones industrials jumping 166 points. . the s&p 500 adding 20 and the nasdaq surging 47 points. those averaging scoring their first back-to-back gains since july. google sure did its part with quarterly earnings and revenue that blew past expectations, boosted by record ad sales. apple pitched in with a 3% bump today as the iphone 4s went on sale and ibm hit an all-time high after two firms raised their price targets. the tech giant has started moving very aggressively into cloud computing. retailers were higher across the board on a report that shows sales rebounding for the fastest pace since september.
at the same time, a surprise drop in consumer sentiment and expectations, and that could be bad news heading into the holiday shopping season. that's the first frlatest from first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." if people have anointed mitt romney as the gop nominee this year, someone has forgotten to tell the tea party. romney's support has remained flatline offered the past few months, in poll after poll, his support has stuck somewhere around 25%, generally lower than that. not a great place to be for the front-runner. and one reason for his inability to gain traction in the polls is because the base in the party, and most vocally, the tea party, have been hesitant to get behind him, even though they know him, perhaps with good reason. in a year when passion and anger at the current president is driving the narrative, romney has cast himself as the pragmatic choice. here is the challenge he faces,
according to this week's nbc/"wall street journal" poll. herman cain is leading romney, 27% to 23%. rick perry, a distant third now. but among tea party supporters, the gap is even more lopsided. herman cain has the support of a third of tea partyers, romney only about 21%. so if the predictions are correct and mitt romney wins the nomination, what does that mean for the tea party movement itself? will they reluctantly get behind him or will they perhaps look for a third party candidate? or does the choice of mitt romney say something about the power of the tea party? as "the huffington post" asked in a headline yesterday, will mitt romney kill the tea party? matt kibbe is president of freedomworks, one of the largest organizations, and steve kornacki is a political columnist for salon. gentleman, thank you for coming on both, within and outside the tea party movement. i am struck, i'm not a man of the right, but i'm struck over and over again by the fact that romney seems to be the inevitable nominee, because he keeps in there, and you guys
keep changing who you like, now it's herman cain, and i don't sense you're going to win, in the long run. >> we might split our vote, but it strikes me that tea partyers are shopping around and checking out all these various alternatives to romney. clearly, he's the establishment guy, and the question is, can we coalesce around somebody to challenge them. if you add up the numbers, if the anti-romney vote coalesces -- >> it's 77%. >> -- we win. >> yes, but when are you going to get to that point where you can actually knock him out or he will win. you have to get together, or he will win, by definition? >> but we haven't cast a vote yet. and i think that this process is more decentralized. i do think that you could easily see this debate go on for quite some time, particularly if romney can't get above the 20s. because somebody will feel that vacuum. >> do you guys have -- here's my question. you are so jackobin like, a french revolutionary, that you
don't really want an establishment leader. you don't want a john wayne to el you what to do. you like to call your own shots individually. do you want a leader, honestly, a strong leader at the top to tell you where to go, to march, like reagan? >> i don't think that that's essentially what we're trying to do. >> but how do you get a nominee? >> president is one position, but we'd love to drive the process from the bottom up from you on, just like the freshman class has done in the house and senate. >> so let romney have it and kick him in the butt once in a while? >> no, we want to find the best candidate that can win. and we don't think that that's mitt romney. >> let me go to steve kornacki. we're trying to figure this thing from the inside. the dynamic to me seems like there's always going to be somebody, as matt says, who will challenge romney. he always will have an anti-romney from the right. the question is, could it be that in the end, they don't have a strong person from the right? you go to tampa next september, 2012, and they end up having to sit there with their hands under their butts while romney wins at
the old establishment of the republican party wins again. >> yeah, and i think that's probably the most likely scenario, except watching it sort of from the outside, like you're saying, i would put a little different spin on it. i think if romney comes through this process and wins the nomination, yeah, he's the establishment candidate, but i still think in a way, the tea party's won in a very significant way, if that happens. because when you look at mitt romney, we call him sort of the moderate candidate in this race. we're calling him that because in massachusetts, you know, a decade ago, two decades ago, he definitely was a moderate. and we're calling him that because of the health care plan. and because in this campaign, he's been a little less, you know, willing to go and throw all the red meat out there, unlike in 2008. so that's why we're calling him a moderate. but when you look at his actual positions on every issue, right down the line, you know, what they're going to build the republican party platform on next september, i really don't see any differences between what the mitt romney republican party platform would look like next september and what the rick perry or even michele bachmann republican party platform would look like. you know, he's got the health care thing in massachusetts, but
the mitt romney platform is going to say that obama care is a socialistic abomination and it needs to be repealed, because it's killing jobs and freedom, just like the michele bachmann one would. so this is not, you know, nelson rockefeller against barry goldwater. this is really just a question of, does the tea party, does the conservative base of the republican party, you know, feel that they can trust and have confidence in romney to be that same conservative as president, versus moderate, saying, you know, we think he's faking it. >> well, matt kibbe doesn't. the man's sitting right here and doesn't have any confidence in the guy. >> well, think about the other thing that's going on is the senate is in play, and there are a historic number of targets that we can go after as tea partyers, not just in a general, where we think we'll pick up enough seats to take the senate, but in the primaries. >> so you think you can control the next president, no matter who he is? >> you're going to have a more energized house and a more energized senate. >> i think you may have a point. here's a column in the newspaper, d.r. turk said, the base of the republican party has turned on mitt romney because he's the anti-tea party, anti-talk radio,
anti-anti-government candidate. "romney will never be able to appeal to those who want limited government. he fundamentally cannot. he is at bottom a center right candidate, who believes government, when run effectively and efficiently, can produce the best results for the people. it's a noble view. one that the gop base seemingly hates him for. if romney becomes the gop nominee, it will prove that the tea party project was an abject failure and that the momentum of 2010 was only temporary. romney doesn't represent taking the country back." my question is, does he have enough anger, just emotionally, against what's been going on, to be your guy's representative in the general election? does he feel and act like a tea partier? >> well, i don't think it's how he feels, i think it's what he stands for. and if he's going to run on repealing obama care, if he comes up with some plan -- >> but not repealing his massachusetts plan, which he's very proud of. he said so again this week. >> and that's his problem. that's his problem with us and we're not terribly happy about that. but, again, the legislative
power is going to come from the hues a house and senate. >> it sounds like you guys are receding from the fight over the presidency and saying, we don't have a champion, we'll settle and let romney have it if he wants to, we'll vote for him, but we'll control him hand and foot. we'll bind and gag this guy from control in the house and the senate. >> well, ask me that question in april. i still think that the challenge now is to find someone better. >> thank you, both. thank you, matt kibbe. thank you, steve. up next, what a great night for our country. we have an african-american in the white house and look at it, another african-american leading the field of republican challengers right now. look how far we've come. and this is "hardball," only on msnbc. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm [ male announcer ] for half the calories -- plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8.
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still, you know, ramped racism in america. no there's not. >> that was herman cain last night talking about the potential historic moment for two african-americans, one an incumbent president, the other the current front-runner in the republican presidential field facing off. cain's comments came right before the dedication this weekend of the martin luther king national memorial here in washington. is cain right? is this country beyond color? congressman emanuel cleaver is the chairman of the congressional black caucus. sir, thank you for joining us. and nia-malika henderson is with "the washington post." thank you, nia, for joining us tonight. this question of these two guys running, i want to show you something from herman cain, congressman, and have your reaction to it. he's talking about some things about the president, which i find interesting. in an interview with bloomberg view, columnist jeffrey goldberg back in june, cain stressed that he preferred being called
american rather than african-american. then went on to contrast his upbringing with that of president obama. cain is reported to have said, "most of the ancestors that i can trace were born here in the united states of america. barack obama's more of an international. look, he was raised in kenya. his mother was white from kansas and her family had an influence on him, it's true, but his dad was kenyan." goldberg went on to correct cain in his interview by telling him that obama spent four years of his youth abroad in indonesia, never in kenya. why, sir, is it your estimate -- now, this is psychobabble, to some extent, but why on earth would herman cain, a man of obvious educational background, say that the president grew up in kenya, when everyone on earth now knows that he was born in the united states, lived here all his life, hardly ever met his father from kenya, has no real actual mental roots in kenya, and certainly no experience there? >> well, unfortunately, the
united states is suffering through a period where elected officials, even those who are pursuing elective office, are willing to engage fact-free discussions and engage in fact-free discussions and debates. you said everybody on earth knows he was not raised in kenya. that's not quite true. the facts are that he wasn't born in kenya. there are people who will look at the facts and still declare that he was born in kenya or, you know, somewhere in siberia, whatever. it's unfortunate, because, as we are, you know, 48 years of martin luther king delivered his "i have a dream" speech on the mall here in washington, we still have some issues of race, and it's something that people are uncomfortable talking about. and the fact that people are uncomfortable means that we still have issues. for example, nobody now has discomfort when we talk about what used to happened to people
who are left-handed, you know, in some instances they were killed, but nobody's uncomfortable about that now. as long as we have discomfort, it means we still have a problem. >> let me go to nia-malika henderson from "the washington post" in covering this race. is there any way to detect whether this push for mr. cain is real or not on the republican side? republicans are not known for running rican-american candidates, nor have they noerch since the time of the '60s, since really going back further than that for being the party of african-americans generally speaking. they all of a sudden might have one as their nominee, some people are skeptical. >> i think you can draw a straight line from michael steele to herman cain, and even from barack obama to herman cain. he said the ground work for this party and this country being open to the idea of an african-american president. it isn't really clear that he has any sort of ground game.
he's going to report his earnings and what money he's raised over the last quarter. it's going to be about $300, $400,000, so he accident have the engine yet behind him that could power him to the nomination, but he certainly has some fans. you heard newt gingrich say that it's different to label the republican party as a party with a race problem, because i have cain surging to the top of these polls. >> is that true? i guess my topic is no both of you, n.ia, and congressman, is there a -- as we formally dedicate the memorial this weekend with the president serving as the main person there. is it behind us or in front of us, the conflict? sir, you up first. >> we're not through with the issue of race. we certainly have made tremendous progress, but we've not been able to put it completely in the background. we still need people who are not
willing to leave well enough alone on the issue of race. in days to come, we're going to make it to a point where all of us are comfortable. we're not there yet, and all of us have to look at the things that are happening to president obama. i'm not talking about legitimate complaints against his policies. i'm talking about some of the things we've seen in washington with moustaches, hitler moustaches, members of congress calling him names, sambo and so forth. but we have made tremendous progress. the fact we'll have this unveiling of the memorial is a statement about where we are as a country. >> nia, what do you think about all this as a reporter, the race condition in the country as a young person? >> if we could focus a bit on herman cain, i think he's on the, at the same time he seems to play the race card when it
talks about african-americans, it's not something that he would, for instance, say about white evangelicals who vote in overwhelming number, for mccain something like 73%. so i think there's a grappling that this country has to do with race, but again we'll see obviously on sunday, this moving event with the dedication and president obamass as this dream from a beakend to -- >> there it is. it's going to be a big weekend to have that permanent monument here. thank you for representing the black caucus today. when we return, let me finish with a call to the protesters. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. you know when you push your hair to the breaking point?
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let me finish with this. freedom of assembly. it's right there in the constitution, in fact in the first amendment. it's part of the bill of rights. there we have it now. people assembling on the streets of downtown manhattan, right in the shadow of wall street. to say they don't like the way things are going in this country. joe the plumber says he doesn't like the government doing anything about the huge differences of income in this country. he doesn't want the government, as he puts it, redistributing income. but what about the government
distributing income in the tax code? people who work for a dollar pay up to 5%. people who make money off their money pay only 15%. that's a mighty powerful distributor of income, wouldn't you say? that's where we're at in this country thanks to a policy that rewards making money one was, off of having money, in reference to showing up for work and doing a job that needs doing. we will see if occupy wall street brings about real change, or if it withers when the weather turns frigid. we will see if the growing number of people matures the movement itself and makes real discernible statements. here's a bar i would like to put out there. if the crowds, if they affect whether a congressman or senator does something, we'll know it was worth it. here's some demands i would consider -- equality of taxes. everybody pays the same progressive tax rates, no matter how they get their money. two, the federal